Human behaviour

Understanding versus Comprehension

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There is a big difference between ‘not understanding’ something, and ‘not comprehending’ something. In this video, Jonar Nader, in speaking about ‘terrorists and terrorism’ explains how dangerous and how difficult it is to have leaders in power who might not only ‘not understand’ but also ‘not comprehend’. Click the play button to watch the video. Further below is a transcript of the video.

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Here is the transcript:

Jonar Nader: The age of zero, one or two, her parents put her in the swimming pool and she grew up with water all her life. There is no point in her recollection as to when she learned to swim. So this young lady who is bright and intelligent, she literally has avoided her brain to even comprehend that humans might not be able to swim. And when she hears that some people have drowned in calm waters, she just has this explosion in her head. She says, ‘But how could they drown? All they had to do was–’ and to her it’s like walking. And this difference between not understanding that some people can’t swim and not comprehending at all just how anyone could drown is what we face when we are trying to talk about terror, terrorism, fraud and risk. It’s not so much that people don’t understand it. It’s that there are influential people, important people, policy makers and leaders. They not only not understand it but more like my 35-year-old friend just cannot even comprehend and it makes it really difficult to do anything about it.

And my young nephew who is now 16 as brilliant and as bright as they come, his father purchased for him a new computer for high school. And he was showing this to me and I said to him, ‘I hope you will not plug this into the internet and start downloading rubbish because you know what happens, it will grind your machine down. You will get viruses, spyware and all sorts of things.’ He said, ‘Oh, I know. I know.’ He knew all about the dangers of downloading Christmas cards and happy birthday downloads. He said, ‘No, no. I’m going to keep this PC clean,’ because the other one at home that he has is just a mess.

And then three seconds later, he said, ‘Let me show you this.’ And he clicks and he has got this application that makes the screen sound like a chainsaw and the cursor wherever it goes, it sort of gives you the impression that the glass is cracking. I said, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘Oh, a friend gave it to me.’ I said, ‘But, you just told me you’re not going to download rubbish.’ He said, ‘No, no, no. He gave it to me on a USB stick.’ I said, ‘Do you know what this application does? It sits in the background capturing every single key stroke you type from every love letter to every password to every bank account and when your friend is ready and when he’s near you, through his mobile phone and through infrared or bluetooth, it sends the data to him either by phone or email or through the air.’ He had no concept, no idea. Talk about vulnerability.

And we could say, ‘Oh, he’s 16. What would he know?’ Well, what did these savvy investors know about Mr. Madoff who today was being trialed and he said to people, the most savvy investors, ‘I’ll give you 48 percent return on your investment every year,’ and took 50 billion US dollars. So you could say, ‘Oh, the 16-year-old child didn’t understand the risks of downloading USB stuff, games, applications.’ Well, did the world’s most savvy investors understand? Even before Madoff, we had the same copycat situation prior. Like you didn’t know? So you tear your hair out. You didn’t know? Fascinating question.

So, if you have never been conned and if you don’t know how to con, you walk the streets oblivious to the fact that it is happening right out there in front of you and it can happen to you.

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